Guns are here to stay. Making it more difficult for Americans to obtain guns for self-protection is not the answer to the carnage and mass killings routinely taking place across America ["Gun debate finds new twists, turns," News, Oct. 12].

The only way to deter these devastating acts is to increase the penalties associated with the illegal use of guns and strictly enforce them. Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws on the books but they aren't adequately enforced.

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I would recommend that illegal possession of a gun result in a mandatory five-year minimum prison sentence. Committing a crime using a gun would result in a mandatory 10-year sentence. Repeat offenders would have their sentences doubled. Criminal activity using a gun and resulting in a death would bring the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Ed Quinlan, New Hyde Park